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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton reaches deal to avoid securities fraud trial

Paxton agreed to pay $300,000, take ethics classes and complete community service just weeks before his case was scheduled to go to trial.
Ken Paxton
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in Dallas on July 11, 2021.Dylan Hollingsworth / Bloomberg via Getty Images file

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has agreed to pay nearly $300,000 in restitution, take legal ethics classes and complete 100 hours of community service as part of a deal to avoid a jury trial in his securities fraud case.

Paxton, a Republican, was indicted in 2015 on three felony charges that he had misled investors, including failing to disclose he was profiting on investments he urged people to make. He reportedly pleaded not guilty.

If Paxton completes the terms of the pretrial deal, prosecutors will dismiss the charges in 18 months.

“There was no admission of guilt,” Paxton lawyer Dan Cogdell told reporters after the deal was announced in court Tuesday, reiterating Paxton’s innocence. “But we’re glad to have this behind us.”

Pressed about why Paxton was willing to pay the significant sum if he was innocent, Cogdell said jury trials are unpredictable.

“It’s cheaper than what he’d have to pay me if we went to trial,” Cogdell said. “There’s no guarantee when you go in front of a trial. Any trial lawyer will tell you that.”

Paxton has been dogged by corruption allegations for nearly a decade, even as he has enjoyed a flourishing political career. Last year, he was impeached on corruption allegations by members of his own party in the Texas House of Representatives. He stood trial in the Texas Senate but was acquitted and returned to his office.